Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One Community

In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future. Alex Haley
Sometime ago, I visited a native museum east of the city, Blackfoot Crossing. I was alone. I was in awe. I stood in the large, airy lobby looking through the floor to ceiling windows that provided a panoramic view of the valley laid out in fall glory before me.

A tall native man walked towards me. "Is this your first time at the Crossing?", he asked.

"Yes," I replied. "It's stunning."

He smiled. Nodded his head. His pride in the museum and the surrounding terrain and his Siksika heritage was entrancing. His slow, measured voice unwound stories from the past with a lazy drawl that took me along the river valley beyond the windows into a time when buffalo roamed these lands and his people were one with their spirits. He told me stories of his childhood, his grandmother's laughter and his mother's bead designs. He spoke of past generations with pride, and talked about his concern for the future.

"They are all our generations," he said when referring to the importance of community and tradition within the Siksika nation and the loss of language amongst the young.

I told him about my background. About my mother's French roots and my sadness about losing my languages through time and disuse.

"We are all connected," he smiled, nodding his head slowly.

We are all connected.

Community is about connection. No matter where we roam. No matter how far from home we go.

Community brings us back to that place where we are all connected. At one. One with eachother, rooted in the strength and courage we share, grounded in the past, forever bound to eachother through our shared experience -- where ever we stand.

For Floyd, the native man with whom I chatted, his roots are grounded in the prairie grasses and centuries of his forefather's travels following the buffalo. He is rooted in the history that created this land and yet, he too feels the angst of trying to understand where he belongs, where his children's children will find their place in time to make a difference to his people.

There was a time when the buffalo roamed and life was paced out with the turning of the seasons, the rumblings of thunder in the sky and the casting of the stars upon the celestial ceiling every night. There was a time when we, the interlopers, the ruling society, the holders of power, and guns and money, believed it was wisest to destroy the culture and traditions of another community in our quest to make our world fit into the community of our design.

For the Siksika, the destruction of their past left an entire nation rootless, without direction, without a sense of belonging. And yet, they persevere. They continue to dig into their roots, to create a place where they belong, not because someone else says they do, but rather, because this is their land. Their heritage. Their past, present and future. Their community.

We are all connected. We are all one community.

At Choices, we connect through those bonds that are stirred by the pain of our past. We connect through the humanity we share, the human condition we all carry -- no matter how tattered, bruised or battered we may be. We connect through our human condition and uncover the miracle of who we are meant to be. No matter our heritage. No matter our roots. Our colour. Our creed. We connect and become one family aligned with the dream of a woman who is committed to changing the world one heart at a time.

My heart expands. I am changed. My world changes with me.


1 comment:

Maureen said...

Lovely, sad, and redemptive -- all at the same time, Louise.